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French Caribbean

Deal in Guadeloupe, rioting in Martinique

Article published on the 2009-02-26 Latest update 2009-02-26 12:47 TU

Willy Angèle, head of the local employers union in Guadeloupe.(Photo: Reuters)

Willy Angèle, head of the local employers union in Guadeloupe.
(Photo: Reuters)

On the French West Indian island of Guadeloupe, a deal to end the month-long strike has been reached in principle. It concedes the strikers' primary demand, a 200-euro raise for low-income workers, though no deal has been formally signed. Meanwhile, in neighbouring Martinique, rioters burned storefronts and cars.

“The state will guarantee the 200 euros,” said Rosan Mounien, a union representative, after emerging from more than ten hours of meetings with government and employers.

But the general strike that has paralysed the island for more than a month has not been called off yet.

“We’ve gotten used to bosses’ turnarounds. We’re staying wary. The strike is still on,” said Eli Domota, leader of the street protests.

Prefect Nicolas Desforges confirmed that a final deal “has not been signed and the debates aren’t over yet”.

A large crowd passed the night singing songs and playing instruments in front of the port authority in Point-à-Pitre where the negotiations took place.

On the neighbouring island of Martinique, which has also been striking since 5 February, a second night of riots broke out, with stores pillaged, cars burned and roadblocks erected in the main town, Fort-de-France.